Getting Down To The Bottom Of Food Sensitivites
A few months ago I wrote about how I was trying an elimination diet to treat my son’s eczema. Overall, I did not see much of a difference in my son’s skin. There were still regular flare-ups, even after 4 weeks of this restricted diet. And it was hard. So I wrote about some of my difficulties and challenges. I realized there were more foods than just dairy and gluten that were often triggers for kids. I wasn’t ready to give up on my son’s eczema, but I decided to take a break for a few months and just really focus on his daily skin care regime.
Fast forward three months. My son is officially off school and I now have more control over his daily diet (his preschool provided lunches), so I wanted to get serious about tackling his skin issues. His pediatrician insists that diet has nothing to do with his eczema, and continues to prescribe him steroid creams, which he notes that while it is fine to use short-term, long-term use can stunt growth. Fantastic. I can’t deny how well the steroids clear up his skin, but they do absolutely nothing in the way of prevention. It’s basically a vicious cycle of flare-up, steroid, clear skin. Repeat. I can’t do it anymore. There has to be a better way.
Friends who also have children with eczema recommended we try to test for food sensitivities via an IgG test. These tests can indicate if there is a food sensitivity or intolerance within the body that could be the cause for many ailments such as migraines, irritable bowel syndrome and eczema. Testing for what foods your body is not tolerating can also explain fatigue and weight gain or difficulty to lose weight in certain individuals. What exactly happens in an IgG food sensitivity test according to Rocky Mountain Medical Laboratory is this:
“In an IgG reaction, the IgG antibodies attach themselves to the food antigen and create an antibody-antigen complex. These complexes are normally removed by special cells called macrophages. However, if they are present in large numbers and the reactive food is still being consumed, the macrophages can’t remove them quickly enough. The food antigen-antibody complexes accumulate and are deposited in body tissues. Once in tissue, these complexes release inflammation causing chemicals, which may play a role in numerous diseases and conditions.”
Basically, whatever foods have an elevated IgG reaction could be the culprit in what is causing so much inflammation within your body. Your body is not recognizing it as nourishing food, and creates antibodies to fight against it – essentially rejecting it. In addition to getting an IgG test, I also wanted to get a holistic approach to making a plan for my son’s eczema so I sought out the help of a naturopathic doctor. After getting the IgG test (one needle to draw a small vial which tests for over 100 different foods), our naturopath helped us make sense of the test. I was shocked at the results.
The foods that were most elevated were eggs, dairy and nuts. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised because those are the foods he consumes the most. However, random things like oranges, raspberries, beans were also considered elevated, but he never consumes those foods. In any case, as shocking as the results were, I was glad to have some possible answers. My naturopath helped us make a food plan starting with meals free of all eggs, dairy and nuts. The one food my son had absolutely no reaction to was coconut, so I stocked up on coconut oil, milk and yoghurt. We had a delayed start with the dairy and nuts (he went to a pool party last week) but we completely eliminated eggs a week ago and I’m shocked at the difference it has made in his skin already. He has had no new flare-up’s (which are usually 2x/week in the summer). Of course, I am closely monitoring to see if things continue to improve, but we were told to give it at least 3-4 weeks to see some real results.
I know that not all doctors and the medical profession as a whole does not necessarily see the link between food sensitivities and inflammation, but at this point I can’t continue to use steroids and expensive creams/balms (from prescription to natural) without seeing long-term results. If taking certain foods out of his diet helps prevent future flare-ups, you can bet that I will be sticking to this plan long-term. Our naturopath did mention that once my son’s immune system has matured, we will most likely be able to re-introduce these foods again. But the priority now is to nourish his body back to health with the right foods for him. I’m planning to put together a meal plan of our favourite meals. Stay tuned for that post if you’re also in the midst of an elimination diet with these foods!
Have you ever had an IgG or food allergy test? Once you eliminated those foods, did it make a big difference in your health?